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Creating the Worlds of Star Wars - 365 Days, by John Knoll (was: Millennium Falcon Exterior Sets)

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 (Edited)

I've been slowly turning pages in "365 Days of Star Wars Locations" book, and yesterday's was 91 - (RotJ) Sandstorm 1.  It shows an exterior model of the Falcon that's about 70% wide and missing the remaining side. 

It's actually very similar to the incomplete one they built for A New Hope in '77, which is the reason the Radar Dish is missing when the falcon is seen in Docking Bay 94.  This model was used for that scene and the scenes in the Death Star landing bay.  It seems someone maid a point of making sure a full Falcon was built for ESB, and that set is used in three locations (Hoth Base, Space Worm, Cloud City Docking Bay).

But back to RotJ... it's odd that they built a third Falcon set (they were too large and too expensive to store between movies.  They should have asked me, I would have gladly put it up for a couple of years) and that they returned to the 70%ish width design, again missing the dish.  But the set was only intended to be used for the Sandstorm scene, which we all know was cut during production.

It's just odd to think that the role of the set was expanded significantly for the 2nd film, and then practically completely removed for the third.

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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It was written about in a couple places that the complete Falcon built for ESB was carefully dismantled, mothballed, and placed in storage so it could be used again for Jedi.

It's possible they only reassembled what was needed (or be visible) for the sandstorm scene.

And it's a damned shame nobody thought about giving it to a museum after that!

I'm curious as to why they didn't use it for the Rebel hangar scene though. The matte painting behind Han and Lando always sticks out for me.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Seeing sets destroyed makes me really sad. Sure, some movies don't know that they'll be classics by the time they tear down the sets, but movies like Star Wars or shows like Star Trek should know better. Paramount at least kept parts of the Trek sets to auction off, but the fact that I'm sure no one can account for a single piece of the FULL SIZE FALCON is a shame. If Lucas has them hidden somewhere, he should donate it to a museum or set up one of his own.

If I ever made a movie like that, I would keep everything related to it, either to auction it off, for sequels, or donate to a museum or something.

“005 is super hep” - dahmage

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SilverWook-

That's at odds with the only write-up I have in front of me.  I certainly don't claim to know what really happened, but allow me to quote from the book.

Again, this is from day 91 of Creating the Worlds of Star Wars - 365 Days, by John Knoll

This scene was the only one in Return of the Jedi requiring a Millennium Falcon exterior.  The size of the Falcon set built for The Empire Strikes Back meant that it was too large to save, therefore it was rebuilt on Stage 2.  However, because the sandstorm would greatly limit visibility, only half of the Falcon was reconstructed.

 

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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I believe British labor laws required that the sets be destroyed. The idea was to prevent sets from getting re-used for another film, which would reduce the amount of money paid to the set builders.

You know of the rebellion against the Empire?

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Today's page (93) is about the 4 second establishing shot of Yoda's house on Dagobah.  The Dagobah set was also destroyed and had to be rebuilt.  I never thought of it before, but it must have been relatively painful to build such a detailed set for such a short portion of the film.

Kinda makes the "digital sets" make a lot of financial sense when you are doing multiple sequels over the course of several years.

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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Well, either Lucasfilm was spouting disinformation back then, or it's doing so now because nobody really remembers what happened anymore. Parts of the Dagobah set were supposed to be stored for Jedi as well.

You'd think there would have been multiple takes of the exterior of Yoda's house leftover from Empire though.

I do know small pieces of the Falcon were contest prizes given away by the original SW fan club in the 80's.

As to British Labor laws, if you listen the commentaries on the Bond films, they reused M's office set all the way into the Roger Moore era until it was too worn out or rotted to be rebuilt again. The double red door 007 entered through was saved though.

If you've seen the PSA restored and included on Puggo Grande, that set is clearly made from walls of the Death Star control room. The ad was shot long after Star Wars wrapped filming.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Aren't British film sets always burning down? Though Wiki tells me this:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Falcon

"No new models or sets were created for Return of the Jedi. A portion of the full-scale ship was used for a scene cut from Return of the Jedi "

 

possibly because the original fullish scale model:

 

"weighed over 25 tons and used compressed air hover pads for movement around the set."

 

 

 

 

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miker71 said:

"No new models or sets were created for Return of the Jedi. A portion of the full-scale ship was used for a scene cut from Return of the Jedi "

I immediately took this out of context and thought it literally said: No new models or sets were created for Return of the Jedi.

I find that hard to believe!, I says to my self.

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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zoiks!

Actually, I do remember reading stories that they had a hard time rebuilding Y wings for Jedi, and something about some of the ships being built from kits available in stores (not just bits of kits - but like buying a TIE kit and using it to build a TIE ...) - perhaps I dreamt that, it's a sketchy memory from around 1987.

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Were there Y-Wings in RotJ?  Funny you should bring it up since I was trying to remember that yesterday...

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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xhonzi said:

Were there Y-Wings in RotJ?  Funny you should bring it up since I was trying to remember that yesterday...

Yes, one crashes to an ISD.

And in the time of greatest despair, there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as the Son of the Suns.

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 (Edited)

LexX said:

xhonzi said:

Were there Y-Wings in RotJ?  Funny you should bring it up since I was trying to remember that yesterday...

Yes, one crashes to an ISD.

 wasn't that an A-wing?

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almonkey said:

LexX said:

xhonzi said:

Were there Y-Wings in RotJ?  Funny you should bring it up since I was trying to remember that yesterday...

Yes, one crashes to an ISD.

 wasn't that an A-wing?

I meant the guy who yells "I'm hit!". For example.

And in the time of greatest despair, there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as the Son of the Suns.

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doubleofive said:


Seeing sets destroyed makes me really sad.
Those last images in that article were exactly the kinds of images I was talking about. Movie history, sitting in junk piles. At least we know what happened to it. The full-sized shuttlecraft from Star Trek TOS rotting away and eventually disappearing from some car lot breaks my heart.

“005 is super hep” - dahmage

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Yeah, that's really depressing.  If this 1983 Kenner Scout Trooper Blaster I have at my desk worked, I might just shoot myself.  I guess I'll just have to jump into my forced perspective chasm I have on the floor.

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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Please, whatever you do, don't jump into the Total Perspective Vortex.

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I don't understand why they didn't auction off the pieces rather than trashing them. Certainly they must have known that people would've been interested.

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Mielr said:

I don't understand why they didn't auction off the pieces rather than trashing them. Certainly they must have known that people would've been interested.

I don't think most 12 year olds had the money, and if IIRC adults appreciated the movies but were more into - whatever adults did in the late seventies and early eighties.

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miker71 said:

Mielr said:

I don't understand why they didn't auction off the pieces rather than trashing them. Certainly they must have known that people would've been interested.

I don't think most 12 year olds had the money, and if IIRC adults appreciated the movies but were more into - whatever adults did in the late seventies and early eighties.

Are you saying adults then didn't do what we are doing now?  Posting all day on Star Wars forums?

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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You make it sound like such a waste of ti---

:-(

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So, it came to an end.  With page/day 112, the Original Original Trilogy has come to closure and for a few pages I am reading about the SE work...  Then it's on to the prequels!  I thought of ripping the book in half and just keeping the OOT half... but the PT is quite interesting at a technical level.  So, I've decided to read it anyways...

But that's besides todays point- John Knoll shares this anecdote on page 115 about the production schedule for ESB:SE.

John Knoll:

I had just finished the final "final" on The Empire Strikes Back Spedial Edition.  It was a Friday (in January 1997) and I was at ILM's wrap party for A New Hope Special Edition.  There were tents in the courtyard, everyone was having a good time, and I ran into George, who said -- and this was exactly six days before we were supposed to ship the last CG film out for Empire -- "I have one more shot I want to do for Empire.  But we can talk about it Monday."

 

  And I said, "No, no -- we have to talk about this now!  What is it?"

  "After Han's Falcon is parked on the Star Destroyer," he said, "It's not clear that Boba Fee is in the junk, too, and that he's following Han.  I think we need one more shot in there to explain what's going on."

  So that night I went home and got out my Art of Empire Strikes Back book and used it as a reference for a really quick CG model of Boba Fett's ship, Slave I.  I paired that with an already constructed CG Millennium Falcon model.

  Over the weekend, I cobbled together an animatic (a three-dimensional digital storyboard) of Slave I clandestinely following the Falcon, and showed it to George on Monday.  He had a couple comments on the timing, so we started a revision.  Meanwhile, Rod Woodall had been working, as a personal project, on building a detailed CG model of Slave I, so I got him to give me a copy with the textures.  The rest of that Monday we worked on the shot revision, also completing the CG version of Slave I.  On Tuesday morning, I showed George the revision of the animatic, and he approved it.  The afternoon was spent lighting the shot, and by the end of that evening I was pretty much satisfied.  I spent Wednesday continuing to light and render elements.  Thursday, I put the comp together, and filmed it Thursday night.  We screened the completed version Friday morning, and George gave it the thumbs-up.  If anything had gone wrong during that week, we would've missed the deadline.

It's a pretty interesting story.  Hard to believe they only had a couple guys and a couple days to do a whole shot like that.  No wonder there are so many mistakes and whatnot in the SEs.

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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Falcon constructed in Wales UK the best of the best makes the best.

 

Only the originals from the 70mm six-track Dolby stereo Dolby format 42 will sound better on DVD/Bluray.